During law school orientation we had a speaker talk to us about the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction. As could reasonably be deduced, lawyers were disproportionately likely to become addicted to AODs.
(All throughout that presentation, heads turned back and forth and bodies shifted a bit in their seats. If orientation was any indication of our future careers in law, we were all doomed.)
I came across an interesting blog post from the New York Times tonight regarding alcoholism. What’s especially interesting about it is that it emphasizes the environmental or social aspect of alcoholism:
If alcoholism is an addiction — which it is — how can people control their drinking just because it is no longer acceptable to get drunk? What about smoking, another addiction? Addicts are supposed to be powerless; is a little social disapproval more powerful than all the rehabilitation centers and 12-step programs and fancy new drugs?
Does fashion trump addiction?
Addiction specialists and scientists have identified three causes of most addictions: early trauma, genes, and environment. Still, addiction has eluded all attempts at a precise definition or a complete understanding. In most models, environment is thought to be the least of the three so-called causes. But maybe environment is the elephant in the room. In an environment where it is not attractive to get drunk, no one gets drunk.
No one likes a sloppy drunk, but everybody likes to have a good time.
This to me highlights the problem with attitudes on drinking in America. If only we could lay rest to the old Puritanical views on alcohol and embrace the beauties of the drink like our European brethren! Of course, Europe does have alcohol-related problems as pointed out by Eric Asimov in his newspaper column and indicated by the ban on drinking on public transportation in London earlier this year.
I would love to be able to have a beer or a bottle of wine in public, though I learned enough in torts to know this is a terrible, terrible idea. Obviously, stumbling home drunk by foot is a lot safer than driving home drunk across the interstate.
But… ABC stores in Virginia? The lack of beer at 7-11s and liquor at markets in DC? What gives, man?
Back in California, I am reminded of how awesome it is: moderate weather, great food, nice roads. And Pavilions is having a holiday sale on ALL their alcohol, and there are tall icy 40s of Olde E in convenience stores (not that I would ever drink them again, but still, it’s nice to have options).
It’s good to be a Californian. As that patron saint of conservatism Ronald Reagan once said: “If the Pilgrims had landed in California, the East Coast would still be a wilderness.” Amen to that, Ron.